Kingston may be quickly filling the gaps at the low end with the sale of Lexar however the high end market for professional storage is still anyone’s game. FreeTail seems to be pressing this as an upstart having launched rather robust CF devices last year and is following up with microSD cards targeted at content creators. We have the new Evoke Pro 1000x microSD carrying UHS-II U3 and V60 ratings in tow.
Our Evoke pro microSD
Understated might be the best way to describe the packaging FreeTail chose for this card. A simple blister pack at home on the wall of a camera shop or university bookstore is the entirety here. The back indicates which card is in the packaging and the card itself is left to convey the bulk of the information. Also included in the package is a (currently unlabeled) full size SD adapter. This card seems marked for every modern standard except for application performance. Based on it’s labels I expect it to compare favorably to cards we’ve reviewed in the past. One missing detail on the packaging that is critical to it’s target market is a warranty period although a quick look at the manufacturers website indicates that it is 3 years. However short of infant mortality I don’t expect this to be a card that relies on that warranty period either considering it’s use of MLC memory, a rarity in microSD products.
A UHS Rehash
The UHS bus is available in a few different varieties. Although UHS-III was recently announced by the SD association we’re still seeing UHS-I devices as the most common with the SD845 in this years flagship devices still utilizing it as their highest speed bus. Hopefully this changes in the future.
As usual for microSD devices all benchmarks were run using a ThinkPad S1 yoga. We use Crystal disk mark set to a 1Gb test size. testing was moved from the internal UHS-I limited reader to a UHS-II USB 3 card reader(the reader used was a Lexar UR2 reader). With that preface out of the way lets look at how things turned out.
The Evoke Pro is left in an interesting position compared to the other cards. It is capable of reads well above it’s rating putting it in competition with the 1800x Lexar card sequentially. However it’s writes although well above what’s needed to meet it’s V60 rating don’t quite match the slower Lexar 1000x card. This isn’t actually a terrible place considering it meets it’s rating and picks up a few bonuses such as approaching(despite not targeting it) random writes closer to the A1 card than the Lexar devices did.
In both of my cameras(the Yi M1 and Zcam-E1) the Evoke Pro worked perfectly. However but those aren’t UHS-II devices and fall a bit short of pushing it’s limits. So we’ve done a little work to figure out the size of individual frames. Using 256kb for 1080 and 1Mb to simulate 4k we can simulate higher end devices than we have on hand.
The results at 1080 are nothing short of astounding. They aren’t not quite what I’d like if I was recording 480FPS slow motion(a little inter frame compression would get you there though) 1080p content is just a joke to a card like this. Although we see some variance 240FPS 1080 content is no where near the lowest we see at 440fps.
Similarly 4k is well above the minimum we’d expect if we were recording at 4k60. And considering that our 4k frame size it seems that FreeTail has erred on the side of caution with this card. The V90 rating only requires a sustained 90MB/s sequential write, something this card is more than capable of.
Real world performance
Photo times were held back by the devices used as opposed to the card itself. There were no issues adopting the card on the HTC10 adding it to the primary storage in a seamless manner. In our E1 camera the Evoke Pro was absolutely perfect although I’d prefer a larger variant for all day shooting.
This card is absolutely stunning even if it’s recommendation must occur in something of a vacuum. With the fate of Lexar uncertain at best this is the only UHS-II device we’ve looked at that I can guarantee any level of support on in the near future. With that caveat out of the way it’s left to say that this card is nothing short of stunning and although I would prefer a longer warranty other FreeTail products we’ve looked at have held up in full production environments without a hitch. This cards use of MLC memory to ensure a long life and excellent performance it’s priced to fly off the shelves. At 51.99 it undercuts it’s competitors while offering an excellent performance. Even the 128Gb model is priced well at an impressive 102.99 enough below competitors you could grab the 32gb model as well in some instances.